Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Lessons in Worldview (From Lit Class)

I run a literature class for a small group of students. Together we read historical fiction. Along the way we study related events, research cultural trends, plot on maps the geographical locations mentioned. We often dabble in music, art, and poetry from that time and place as well. We wring every bit of truth we can from those pages!

We include one other important study. We consider world view when reading our texts. By asking a few key questions, I nudge them toward a deeper inspection, a closer look. What do we learn from this person's response to this situation? What is the worldview held by this character? What glasses, what perspective, is he looking through - fear, trust in himself, trust in his parents, pride, bitterness, surroundings, trust in God? How can you tell? If this person had understood the Biblical precept of forgiveness, how would it have changed the situation we just read? Is this character consistent in his vantage point?

Last week we read this together:
I never saw anyone give money to a beggar. You couldn't, my father explained, or you'd be mobbed by beggars. They'd follow you everyplace; they'd never leave you alone. I had learned not to look at them when I passed and yet I saw. The running sores, the twisted legs, the mangled faces. What I couldn't get over was that, like me, each one of those beggars had only one life to live. It just happened that they had drawn rotten ones. (From Homesick by Jean Fritz)
I had underlined it, which was my cue to stop right there and gather some input from these, my students. "It just so happened that they had drawn rotten ones." What does that tell us about her perspective here? Is that Biblical? Do you think we "draw" lives randomly? Is it fixed by some chance or operation of luck in the sky? Is there truly no hope for those beggars? Had they been destined to this? What part did sin play? How can Jesus - the Redeemer, the Savior, the Healer, the Prince of Peace - make a difference? Can things change for this beggar? If so, are we looking for a lifestyle change, or a heart change, or a spiritual transfer from darkness to light? Will that effect his physical life? How?

We know from Psalm 139 that God is personally involved in our creation. And Psalm 16.5,6 says this:
Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
    you make my lot secure. 
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    surely I have a delightful inheritance.
Our heroine seemed to believe that "luck" was the dictator, that she and the beggar had both "drawn" a life like we draw a hand of cards in a card game. Now, debating the reason for his circumstance and our own may be needed at times; gaining an understanding of the impact of our own choices as well as recognizing the damage accrued through the sin of others is important. But what our heroine needs to know is that God Himself, who loves forever and always, has seen and known and provided hope and salvation for all - anyone at all - who will call on His name. Anyone. The "boundary lines", for even this beggar, become redemptive through the power and grace provided by Jesus through the finished work of the Cross. All things work together for good as a follower of Jesus Christ. The man, if he puts his faith in Jesus, could be adopted, sanctified. A new inheritance could be his.

This great news is not new news. But it is great and new for every hearer the first time it becomes clear. May people everywhere understand that there is One who has come to redeem the lines, to restore the soul, to work all things together for good. He has come to make us His own. And the inheritance of eternity belongs to such. We need only look to Him and it will become clear.

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